Often-quoted are statements such as ‘A child possesses her/his mother’s intelligent quotient and her/his father’s physical characteristics such as height and weight’ or ‘Kids inherit more of their dad’s genes’. One large-scale study of more than 7,00,000 adults reveals 83 genetic variants that control human height. Knowing the role that genes play in determining a person’s height might help to predict a person’s risk for common diseases.
Of the 83 variants:
Precision medicine is a fast-emerging field that focuses on customized healthcare, medications, treatments and products specially designed suiting every individual patient’s needs specifically. This study also makes way for further investigations that could help identify genetic variations that increase the risk of developing certain diseases and focusing on these variations would be of utmost use in precision medicine.
Genes determine our height, weight, nature, sex, color, intelligence quotient and what not! The study has explicitly shown that much more probing into genetics and nutrition can help humans uncover solutions to different problems. Protein-altering variants can help discover some of the important genes that need to coordinate in the right way for our body to function properly. Read more on nutrigenetics/nutrigenomics at www.firsteatright.com.
We believe what we see. We know that our food is prepared in an unhygienic way when there are some small insects such as mosquitoes swimming in our broth or a strand of hair present in our sabji. Other germs and bacteria present in our food go into our body unnoticed as humans don’t have microscopic eyes! This makes it difficult to know whether the food we prepare is cross-contaminated or not. There are a ‘n’ number of easy ways for bacteria to taste our food from contaminated utensils, cooking equipment and even our hand.
How many of you wash your hands and dry them in your pants? Or, even better, handle raw poultry and immediately chop some cucumbers without washing your hands? When its disgusting to read, it would be even more yucky to eat food prepared in such an unhygienic surrounding. Our kitchen is a great place for bacteria to thrive upon and enjoy some gala time. In turn, there are numerous things we wrongly do from our end that increases the risk of foodborne illness.
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspective Service completed an observational survey in which participants cooking in a kitchen were recorded to inspect their food handling safety. Results were disappointing as most participants did not comply with cross-contamination policies but allowed bacteria to spread all around the kitchen. Among the numerous mistakes made, listed below are the top ones:
Mobile Phones: We take our mobile phones with us wherever we go-office, bedroom, garden, kitchen and even bathrooms! Our mobile phones pick up bacteria from each of these places. A survey reports that 40% of participants who used their smartphones or laptops did not wash their hands before proceeding to cook food. Imagine taking your phone to the bathroom and then immediately going to the kitchen to cook food!
Pets: Pets might be a part of our family, but they are also carriers of microorganisms. Its ok to cuddle and hug your pet but remember to wash your hands thoroughly using a disinfectant after playing with your pet before you start preparing food.
Try to reduce cross-contamination whenever and wherever possible, wash your hands thoroughly each time and practice hygiene to stay healthy. Master the art of handwashing with simple tips and techniques from the website www.firsteatright.com.
Sepsis is a rare but serious complication of an infection which is life-threatening in most cases. It manifests itself when chemicals released into the bloodstream to fight an infection trigger inflammatory responses all over the body. This inflammation is the source of damage of multiple organ systems and death finally. Lungs, pelvis, urinary tract and abdomen are the most common infection sites.
Sepsis is highly prevalent in low- and middle-income countries and contributes vastly towards maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. Globally, it affects almost 30 million people every year leading to around 6 million deaths.
Sepsis usually occurs when the patient is already hospitalized undergoing treatment for some other problem. Individuals who underwent a surgery recently, those who had a urinary catheter fitted or patients hospitalized for prolonged periods are usually liable to sepsis. While many infections can contribute towards this disease, four infections that are most-commonly associated with sepsis include:
Individuals at a Greater Risk
Our immune systems play a pivotal role in limiting infections to their place of origin and white blood cells destroy the germs causing infection. Our body responds to this infection by means of inflammation such as tissue swelling which stops the spreading of the infection. People with a weak immune system or those having severe infection can be majorly affected as it spreads through blood to other parts of the body. This can obstruct blood flow dropping blood pressure levels to dangerously low ones that can prevent oxygen supply to all organs and tissues, leading to death too!
While anyone can get an infection and any infection can lead to sepsis, certain categories of people are at an increased risk:
There is no one symptom that can be singled out as the reason for sepsis. It usually is a combination of various symptoms such as high heart rate, confusion or disorientation, rapid breathing, chill and shivering due to high temperature (fever) or low body temperature, loss of consciousness, slurred speech, nausea/vomiting and severe muscle pain.
Diagnosis & Treatment
If you were down with an infection recently and you doubt symptoms of sepsis, please contact your physician immediately. The doctor checks the body temperature, breathing rate and heart rate to verify sepsis. He/she might request for few other tests to be taken in some cases.
Once confirmed, the doctor admits the patient to the hospital and orders for the ‘sepsis six’ that includes three tests and three treatments. Tests include taking blood culture (to identify the bacteria causing the condition), blood sample and monitoring urine output. Treatments include giving antibiotics, intravenous fluids and oxygen (when levels are low).
As this condition causes damage and problems to vital organs, individuals with serious sepsis are likely to be very ill and the results can be fatal too! Even while recovering some people might experience lethargy, excessive tiredness, muscle weakness, swollen limbs, joint pain and chest pain. In most cases, the condition is treatable and leads to a full recovery with no long-term consequences attached to it.
Devouring your chocolates, pastries, mithais, extra-sugar coffees and sweetmeats fills you with pleasure and satisfaction while eating them. Once done, they become reasons for guilt and even more, factors that can elevate blood sugar levels.
Portion control must be followed at any age, especially as a person grows old. Maintaining blood sugar levels is required to avoid diabetes which is one of the key reasons for heart attack and stroke. Apart from diabetes, blood sugar levels can create a difference in our memory capability too according to a study.
There are multiple factors, both short term (high blood sugar or medication side effects) and long term (dementia) that contribute towards memory loss and preventing it depends on the factor causing memory loss. People remember a vast array of things when they are young and this slowly depreciates as they age. Memory loss becomes more and more prominent as people age. Even a survey by a reputed organization shows that 4 in 10 people face memory difficulties over the age of 65.
Pop in Sugar to Plop Out Memory
Human brain is a warehouse that stores information as it receives. Hippocampus is the area of the brain associated with memory and learning. Researchers focused on one part of the hippocampus, the dentate gyrus, during this study.
The dentate gyrus plays a key role aiding in transfer of information to the hippocampus. It is the region of the brain where all sensory processes merge together to form memories. The study group identified this region as the most closely related one associated with age-related memory decline. Their study completely focused on the dentate gyrus and its reaction to changing cholesterol, blood sugar and weight changes that occur as a person grows old. Study results proved that elevated blood sugar level was the only change that was directly associated with decreased activity in the dentate gyrus.
Yet another research shows that people without diabetes who have high blood sugar levels may be at risk for reduced memory levels. All this support the fact that lower blood sugar levels are much better than normal blood sugar levels when it comes to memory capability. A 2018 study in mice has proved that drugs used for diabetes could be the treatment solution for Alzheimer’s. This again shows the strong link between cognition and diabetes.
Exercise Your Right to Exercise
Changes in lifestyle strategies that improve overall body health is the critical solution to lower blood glucose levels in old and young individuals. This includes eating healthy foods rich in fruits, vegetables, fiber, protein and wholegrains, preventing obesity, staying on a healthy body weight and exercising regularly. Exercise improves the ability of the body to process glucose which in turn prevents elevated blood glucose levels. Get in touch with registered dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com to get your customized diet plan suiting your health requirements.
Dietitian Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.